Section 12-19-150

Legislative intent; assessment of fees in criminal cases; submission of cost bill by municipal or district court clerk and making of final assessment of costs in circuit court upon appeals from municipal or district courts to circuit courts.

(a) It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state that docket fees and other court costs in criminal cases shall generally be assessed only upon conviction. It is further declared to be the policy of the state that a creditor shall not use the criminal process in order to collect civil debts. The state does recognize that situations will arise from time to time wherein justice may best be served by allowing a judge to enter an order dismissing a case upon the payment of costs by the defendant or by the complainant where the judge has determined that the criminal process has been abused.

(b) Docket fees and other court costs in criminal cases shall be assessed upon conviction; provided that, in the interest of justice, following an arrest or the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of a defendant, a judge may in his discretion, on motion of the district attorney or upon his own motion, enter an order prior to trial dismissing the case. Such order may be conditioned upon the defendant's payment of the docket fee and other court costs accruing in the proceeding. It is further provided that such costs may be taxed against any person who has made a complaint upon which a warrant was issued and who subsequently requests that such case be dismissed without just cause or legal excuse. A judge may excuse payment of fees in any case wherein the defendant serves an active jail sentence.

(c) For the purpose of assessing fees in criminal cases, a case shall include all offenses arising out of the same incident. Fees shall be assessed on the basis of the most serious offense of which the defendant is convicted, provided, that the judge may, in his discretion, assess costs for each conviction. When two or more defendants are charged in the same indictment or complaint, fees shall be assessed against them separately, as if they had been charged separately.

(d) If an appeal is taken from the district court or the municipal court in a criminal case, the clerk, in making records available to the circuit court, shall submit a cost bill from the district court or municipal court, and the final assessment of cost will be made in circuit court, including unpaid court costs and fees from district, municipal and circuit courts.

(Acts 1975, No. 1205, p. 2384, §16-118; Acts 1981, No. 81-353, p. 508.)